MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Todd Gilliland collected his first Gander Outdoors Truck Series win at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday.
The 19-year-old third-generation racer started 11th in the No. 4 Mobil 1 Toyota in his 46th career start.
He restarted 16th for the last stage and led the final 11 laps of the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 en route to the victory.
“I wish we would have won two years ago just like everyone else thought we would,” Gilliland said. “And I thought we would, too. You’ll have that. We went through some growing pains.
“I’m just so proud of these guys on this team. This is a long time coming. Hopefully, this will get the momentum rolling and open up some doors for next year.”
Ross Chastain, Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, Timmy Hill, Stewart Friesen, John Hunter Nemechek, Danny Bohn, Jeb Burton and Codie Rohrbaugh rounded out the top 10.
“If I can go head-to-head with that team, I can fight them one at a time, but I can’t take two of them,” Chastain said of his battle with the Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks of Gilliland and Harrison Burton. “They took turns beating my back bumper off, which is fine. I’m good with it.”
The Truck Series Playoff drivers sustained major hits on Saturday starting with Matt Crafton. The No. 88 Menard’s Ford experienced a rash of electrical issues starting on Lap 81. Following multiple attempts to restart the truck, he dropped to 29th, eight laps off of the pace when he rejoined the field. Crafton soldiered on to a 23-place result.
Brett Moffitt won Stage 1, but contact with Christian Eckes set off a chain of events that would eventually end the No. 24 truck’s day. Moffitt pitted for repairs at the end of Stage 2 and restarted 22nd on Lap 110. Six laps later, he was swept up in a wreck with Natalie Decker and Jeb Burton. He retired after 122 laps and was scored 29th. Still, Moffitt maintained the points lead but watched his 23-point advantage entering the race shrink to 10 points after.
Sam Mayer won his first career Truck stage on Lap 100—but was in the garage 22 laps later. The 16-year-old clipped Grant Enfinger 23 laps later in Turn 2 to trigger the seventh caution. Austin Hill was collected in the melee and turned Mayer back Enfinger in the eight-truck wreck. Tyler Ankrum pounded the inside wall after he was clobbered from behind. Both Playoff contenders attempted to return to the track. But Hill and Ankrum were sidelined on Laps 133 and 141, respectively.
Chastain led the field to green with 44 laps remaining followed by Sheldon Creed, Harrison Burton, Eckes, Gilliland, Sauter, Hill, Austin Wayne Self, Dean and Codie Rohrbaugh. NASCAR determined that Creed jumped the restart and docked him with a pass-thru penalty on Lap 161. He dropped to 19th.
Despite a shuffle between Norm Benning and Ray Ciccarelli on the front stretch, Chastain held serve throughout the 10th caution when the race returned to green on Lap 168. Twelve laps later, the yellow flew again for fluid on the track after Jennifer Jo Cobb’s engine failed.
Following a 10-lap clean up, NASCAR finally waved the green flag with 10 circuits remaining. Gilliland moved to the inside of Chastain for the lead on Lap 191. Nemechek spun Dean and collected Decker and Jordan Anderson five laps later to ignite Caution 12.
Gilliland executed a solid restart and held off Chastain by .879-seconds at the end to claim his first Martinsville clock.